Psychology and Allied Health Services

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

National Sleep Awareness Week 3 – 9th August 2020

Why is Sleep Important?

National Sleep Awareness Week focuses attention on the importance of sleep to mental and physical health. Sleep restores the body, refreshes the mind and is vital for wellbeing.  According to the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep supports concentration, learning and memory, aids the body in recovering from stress, supports immune and cardiovascular function, and protects the body from a range of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.  Sleep also supports mental health, as chronic sleep loss is associated with more negative thinking, anxiety, depression and vulnerability to other mental illnesses.

What Interferes with Getting Enough Sleep?

Common reasons for inadequate sleep include:

  • Not prioritising sleep
  • Too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Shift work
  • Eating and drinking late
  • Exercising too close to bedtime
  • Not winding down before bed
  • Stress and worry
  • Night-time screen use
  • Sleep disorders or other medical conditions

Screens and Sleep

The use of electronic devices at night is linked to poor sleep.  Electronic devices emit an artificial blue light that suppresses the body’s release of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and disrupts circadian patterns. Using devices at night can make it more difficult to fall asleep, sleep soundly, and wake up feeling alert the next morning. It is recommended that screen time is restricted at least one hour before bedtime.

How much sleep do I need?

Sleep needs vary at different stages of life. The Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep durations according to age group:

Sleep and Covid-19

Stress and worry produce subtle changes in the body that make it more difficult to fall (and stay) asleep. As we manage the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to prioritise quality sleep each night. This assists us to manage anxiety and stress, as well as supporting healthy immune function.

 Tips for Improving Sleep

There are many steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep, such as:

  • Establish and maintain regular sleep and wake times
  • Prepare the sleep environment. Keeping bedrooms free of distractions and maximise comfort.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Relax for an hour before going to bed
  • Reserve your bedroom for sleep
  • Avoid caffeine-containing or sugar laden drinks (coffee, tea, softdrink)
  • Avoid naps during the day or evening
  • Know what your optimal sleep amount it and systematically work toward that goal.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing before trying to fall asleep again.

Sleep isn’t a luxury; it is an essential foundation of wellness. Our team at Minding Family Townsville would be happy to provide further support to you or a loved one to assist with sleep related concerns.  Please contact us on 4723 8221 to find out how we can assist.

More information:

Ted Talk: Sleep is Your Superpower by Matt Walker:,7%20Turn%20off%20electronics%20before%20bed.%20More%20